I find that a lot of people seeking a healthier oil alternative are reaching for Canola Oil. It is certainly marketed as healthy oil but as with most things, we must always ask questions. Here is what my small research yielded. (more…)
My daughter now has to stay in school for an extra hour after closing time so that she can participate in extra-curricular activities. For me, that means giving her an even more substantial meal because that extra hour means that she will be spending lunch time in school and will be starving by the time she gets home.
A good choice for a filling meal is Pasta and rather than just regular pasta, whole wheat pasta is sooooo much better.
That is the inspiration for today’s Healthy School Lunch Idea.
We can all agree that we have not had a Harmattan this intense in Nigeria for years. I am actually enjoying the weather but the dust levels are quite high and that has translated to a number of people exhibiting varying flu symptoms.
Loads of people opt for “Fruit Juice” at parties and at restaurants and even at home, thinking that they are getting something very close to freshly squeezed juice and nothing else. That is really not the case…at all.
Today is Healthy Monday! Yay!
Today, let’s speak on a subject that affects you and I – labelling!
My daughter was given a pack of biscuits which I found (intact) in the car. It was one of these really cheap biscuits that you can purchase for about NGN10. Even though I knew not to expect much, I took a look at the packaging to read the ingredients list. Before I could do that though, this caught my eye:
1 Pack = 1 glass of milk*
I was intrigued! Really? I could eat this and literally not need to drink milk? These had to be healthy biscuits!! But then, notice the asterisk? Not a lot of people usually do. I turned the pack around to find what it meant:
*One pack of 33g Milk Biscuits has Calcium equal to 175ml glass of milk
Last year, I put up a post of school supplies that you would need to set up your child with healthy school lunches.
As a follow up, I would like to start a series on healthy school lunch ideas where I share with you what typically goes into my daughter’s school lunch bag. Hopefully this will help those that need ideas. I know it will help me step up my game as well.
Today is Healthy Monday!! Let’s stop talking about food for a minute and talk instead about something that will help you exercise right.
A few years ago, while reading Gym instructor and personal trainer, Adura’s blog, I came across a post that mentioned the importance of getting a gait analysis done when buying new running shoes. I had never gotten that done before but was immediately interested.
It is based on the fact that our foot arch or lack of it (in the case of those that have flat feet) determine the way our feet are aligned.
I wasn’t able to find a place that could conduct the test in Nigeria so I wound up getting it done in a shop that sells running equipment in the UK. I went with my cousin, Chinelo, and they soon had us running barefoot on a treadmill to see whether we overpronate, underpronate or have a normal gait while running. After they determined which category I fell into, they tested me running with shoes and we settled on one that gave me the most support.
This shows the running gait of people that fall under the different categories.
Did it make a difference?…..Yep!! So much so that I haven’t since bought running shoes without getting a fit test or gait analysis done.
In case you are wondering about the results: I discovered that I overpronate (no surprise there as I have flat feet), and wound up buying a pair of ASICS with proper structural support. I absolutely love ASICS. So very comfortable, I could live in them.
Why is a Gait Analysis so important?
- The right shoes can prevent injury while running. As a matter of fact, if you have a recurring injury, it may be down to your shoes not providing the right support.
- Improves form and body alignment for better performance while running.
- Even if you are not a runner, this is helpful in determining the sort of every day shoes you should be buying for every day shoes.
My last pair of running shoes came from New Balance. I went to a New Balance store and they conducted a professional fit analysis to get me the right shoes. No running involved. I simply stepped on an iSTEP scanner which mapped my feet and advised the fit specialist which shoes I would need for the right support.
Here is a picture of my scan, the bits in red are the places where I most apply pressure when standing. This is what flat feet look like.
I bought a pair of shoes with built-in support. They also sold me orthotics which I no longer wear (they were too uncomfortable).
Cool Links Bonus:
- If you don’t know what your arch type is, here is a pretty neat trick for determining it in the comfort of your home. It also explains the sort of support you will need from every day shoes. Here is another.
- In Nigeria without access to a fit test or gait analysis? Asics has a cool online app for helping you find the perfect shoes. New Balance has one too but it does not appear to cater to overpronators, just underpronators.
I am constantly reading up on Human Health and the effects of any chosen lifestyle. A while ago, I came across this documentary which had my jaw dropping and made such an impact that I am not sure I will ever look at Food the same way again.
I think the hugest thing that you can take away from this documentary is the fact that the International Food Industries (almost all of which originate in North America) have been actively, aggressively, seeking and entering emerging economies where they can sell their “nutritionless” food products so that they can stay profitable. They are exporting obesity, quite diligently, to us and rather than wait to learn for ourselves, we can learn from what is happening in all the other countries they have penetrated.
They do not set up office here (going through the stress of operating in Nigeria) because they love you or even care about what happens to you after you get hooked on their snacks and food products – they do so to make sure that their companies stay profitable. And guess where the bulk of that money they make here goes. Hint: Not even into growing your own economy or developing the health sector which they make you need.
I know a lot of our folks watch/hear these things with a feeling of disconnection….they think that Nigeria is so far away from the clutches of the International Food Industries that they cannot be affected.
That is not true. Even in Oke-Arin market in Lagos Island, you can find food products from companies like Kraft, Danone, Heinz e.t.c. Note that I did not call them food. That is because, well they are not. Let us not even begin to get into the brands we now get at places like Shoprite
We also know that certain companies have had a big presence here for years: e.g. Nestle, Coca Cola, Pepsi and all those Indian-owned companies around Oshodi that make the
N10 snacks and biscuits sold by Mallams and in traffic. Let us not even get into the nightmare that is flavored milk, sold everywhere. Even our older industries are complicit, churning out food products like Gala which are very low in nutritional value but are sold “to satisfy hunger”.
It gets even worse, Nigeria is directly mentioned in this documentary. Not only as an emerging economy but as an emerging economy that is targeted by the International Food Industries and as such a place that is experiencing an increasing Obesity problem. Obesity is high in EVERY country that these companies are present in. There is a direct relationship. The documentary does not claim that there was no obesity before they came but there is an accelerated spike in the number of obese people.
I love salads of all kinds. I can eat veggies in pretty much any permutation.
- Cabbage + Tomatoes + Cucumber
- Carrots + Green Pepper + Cucumber + Tomatoes
- Lettuce + Carrots + Cabbage + Green Pepper + Tomatoes
- Carrots + Spinach + Avocado + Tomatoes
…you get the general idea.
I usually throw in some grilled chicken or some boiled eggs to make it a whole meal. Sometimes, I toss in some fruit like apples and eat it like that, sans dressing.
The one thing that wrecks a salad and transports it from a healthy meal to a non-healthy one is the salad dressing that is used.
Today, I am sharing an absolute favorite salad dressing. One that I have made over and over again.
- Anchovies 1 Tin
- Juice of two ripe limes
- Honey To Taste
- Whole grain Mustard Seeds Teaspoon
You can substitute the limes with half a lemon if you prefer. I like limes because they are cheap and cheerful.
Open the can. That’s the hard work done and now it gets really easy, lol. Break up the anchovies to smaller pieces. The fish comes with some oil and we use that as well. Combine with the lime juice and mustard seeds. Add some honey to taste. Voila it is ready! Drizzle over your salad.
I like this particular dressing because it balances the sweet, sour and salty. At the last minute, I added some black pepper. There are no hard and fast rules. Just anything that floats your boat.
Let me know if you like it!
For more inspiration on healthy salad dressings, here’s a handy picture:
Some of the most powerful healing substances on this planet are masquerading as foods. Pineapples are a powerful example of this food-medicine principle. And this is not by happenstance. There exists an ancient mutual dependence between man and fruits. Fruits are by design a perfect food, intended to entice us to eat them in order to help disseminate their seeds. This process is quite profound.
Fruits entice us because they are often sweet and have attractive colors and aromas. They also empower us to disseminate their seeds far and wide. That is, fruiting plants have a vested interest in optimizing the health of animals that eat their fruit. After all, a sickly animal cannot carry seed very far. Accordingly, fruits have evolved an array of substances tailored to fight infection and disease in animals. Let us explore this in a bit more detail.
The evolutionary meaning of vitamin C
Pineapples are one of the most concentrated sources of food vitamin C on the planet. Unlike most animals, human beings are unable to produce vitamin C from glucose. Most animals do not need vitamin C from their food. But humans are wholly dependent on dietary sources. This fact gives tremendous insight into the evolutionary history of man.
Our genetic infrastructure needs a continual resupply of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables. Without which, disease is inevitable.
Vitamin C is the body’s primary water soluble antioxidant, defending the body against free radicals that attack and damage cells. Free radicals are an inevitable fact of life. Our body produces these highly reactive toxins during energy generation. We are also exposed to them from processed foods (e.g. soft drinks) and environmental chemical exposures (e.g. generator exhaust). An excess of free radicals in the body leads to a condition known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has a hand in almost all chronic disease processes that afflict man; from cancer to heart disease to arthritis and so on.
Vitamin C is also critical for immune function; it is an essential nutrient in dealing with infectious challenges ranging from malaria to yeast infections to flu.
That humans gave up the capability to produce such a profoundly health promoting substance demonstrates how intimately and inextricably linked we are to fruits like pineapple. But please note that this is not a prescription to buy synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which lacks the essential co-factors that together form vitamin C complex. Multivitamins and enriched processed foods (e.g. enriched white flour) are a scam of monumental proportions.
Enter bromelain, a proven cancer killer
The emergence of cancer cells is in fact a normal part of animal physiology. Our bodies are composed of trillions of cells, of which billions are replicating at any given time. With so much replication going on all the time, abnormalities are bound to occur. In fact, all of us have carried numerous cancer cells at various times. In healthy persons, these abnormal cells are rapidly destroyed by the immune system.
Fruits have also evolved an integral role in cancer prevention. After all, they have a huge stake in the welfare of their precious seed carriers. Pineapples really do go the extra mile for us. In the fibrous core of pineapples, is a complex blend of enzymes collectively referred to as bromelain. Bromelain has been found to be more potent than the chemotoxic agent 5-fluorouracil in killing cancer cells. Imagine that, pineapples kill cancer cells more effectively than chemotherapy. The only reason such studies remain in the dark is because they threaten the profitability of the medical establishment.
References: Roxana Báez, Miriam T Lopes, Carlos E Salas, Martha Hernández. “In vivo antitumoral activity of stem pineapple (Ananas comosus) bromelain”. Planta Medica. 2007. Web
Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices.